Chelsea Fringe – London Garden No 9

Five Minutes Peace: a garden to sit in, a poem to read, and a prompt to write to … No 9. (Find out more about what this is all about here.)

MILLBANK GARDENS, JOHN ISLIP STREET

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This little public park sandwiches the Tate Britain with the Thames. I was walking round it thinking how it felt like a sanctuary for residents and nearby workers, each bench was occupied by individuals enjoying a break. This man, for example, works for a nearby pizza restaurant and says he comes here as often as he can for the peace.

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And the planting felt like a picture in itself…

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… appropriate with the Tate Britain so near, and the statue of Millais watching with interest.

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Interestingly, the area used to be the site of the old Millbank Prison, and if you walk along the riverbank you can see the memorial to where prisoners were shipped to Australia.

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And if you walk just one hundred metres from the park, you will find one of my favourite jewellery shops, @Work, which had an appropriate garden display in its windows!

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So my poem for Millbank Gardens is this lovely three-liner from David Ignatow, which seems to sum up the gardens for me, the feeling of peace and the underlying layer of the prison. As well of course as the Chelsea Fringe!

If Flowers Want to Grow

David Ignatow

If flowers want to grow

right out of concrete sidewalk cracks

I’m going to bend down to smell them.

And I invite you today to write about your favourite lunchtime sanctuary. Here’s one of the bench memorial plaques from Millbank Garden to give you some inspiration!

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